Aldersgate Preschool


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The Love of Christmas

Christmas is LOVE.  What a blessing!  God loved us so much he sent his only Son to us.

We know God in a more intimate way.  What a gift!

We experience this LOVE of Christmas through everyday blessings.

We HEAR the love of Christmas through stories and song.

(Be sure to listen to some of our Christmas songs located in the Audio section on the right column of this blog.)

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We ENCOUNTER the love of Christmas through everyday activities (including glitter!)

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We INTERPRET the love of Christmas through art and word.

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We TASTE the love of Christmas through shared treats.

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We SHARE the love of Christmas through card and gift.

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We LIVE the love of Christmas with family and friends.

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I love this sweet photo of my husband and granddaughter from our family Christmas.

I pray you enjoy a Christmas full of the joy and peace that the LOVE of God provides.  Merry Christmas!

Cyndi


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Cyndi introduced me to a song last Christmas and it quickly became my favorite.  I play it over and over.  Have you heard it?

I highly recommend you listen to it.  Francesca Battistelli has a beautiful voice.  Here are the lyrics:

Hold on now, gotta take a deep breath
I don’t know what to say when I look in your eyes
You made the world before I was born
But here I am holding You in my arms tonight
Noel, noel, Jesus our Emmanuel

You’re here, I’m holding you so near
I’m staring into the face of my Savior, King and Creator
You could’ve left us on our own, but You’re here

I don’t know how long I’m gonna have you for
But I’ll be watching when You change the world
Look at your hands, they’re still so small
Someday You’re going to stretch them out and save us all
Noel, noel, God with us Emmanuel

You’re here, I’m holding you so near
I’m staring into the face of my Savior, King and Creator
You could’ve left us on our own, but You’re here
You’re here

Someday I’m gonna look back on this
The night that God became my baby boy
Someday You’re gonna go home again,
But You’ll leave your Spirit and flood the world with joy

You’ll be here, I’m holding you so near
I’m staring into the face of my Savior, King and Creator
You could’ve left me on my own, but You’re here
You’re here

Hallelujah You’re here hallelujah
You’re here 

Just to imagine the thoughts going through Mary’s mind when she held Jesus for the first time.  Honestly, I cried when I first heard the song.  “I don’t know how long I’m gonna have you for but I’ll be watching when you change the world.”  She knew her time with Him would be limited but she also knew that He was destined for great things beyond our imagination.

In the wake of terrible tragedy that occurred in Connecticut, I have spent some time reflecting on everything.  I don’t even try to make sense of it.  I haven’t searched for answers.  I don’t know how to point blame to the political issues that surround the event.  What I have done is mourn for those parents, pray for the families, and reflect on what I do have control over: my own life, my children, and the way I parent them.

When I first held my own children and looked into their eyes, it terrified me to bring them into a world of uncertainty: violence, accidents, disease, cruelty.  I don’t know how long I will have them, I don’t know God’s plans for them.  But, I do know that I love being their mother.  I cherish the opportunity to raise them and show them all of the beauty that there is in the world. 

With each of my own children, when I first held them, I didn’t hope that they would be the smartest, most beautiful, or most athletic. My hopes for them were and continue to be very simple: I want them to shine.  More than anything in the world, I want to raise my children to be good people.  I want them to believe in themselves, to love others as God loves them, and I want them to see the beauty in the little things.  I want them to follow their dreams whether it be to become a momma, a teacher, a doctor or the President of the United States.  I want them to be confident to do whatever they want.  I want them to have integrity, to stand up for themselves and for others when they need to, and I want them to help others. 

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” (Proverbs 22:6)

This is the verse that is my constant reminder of how very important my job is in both teaching and parenting.  Parents, teachers, grandparents, etc. we all must remember how great our influence is on children. 

“I’ll be watching when you change the world.” One of the things that I do love about working with children is that they are all so very different and unique.  They each bring something very distinct to the preschool and each is so very special.  I love to look into their eyes and wonder what they will become, how they will make their mark on the world. 

So, I share my favorite Christmas song with you because I love listening to the lyrics, hearing Mary’s perspective about Jesus’ birth, and taking time to wonder if she (as a mother) worried about and wondered similar things that we do as parents today. 

Merry Christmas!

Shelly


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14 Days of Fun, Old Fashioned Family Time

It’s that time.  School is winding down for a break, Christmas is right around the corner, mothers (including myself) are frantically doing last minute shopping, cooking and cleaning.  It’s the most stressful magical time of the year!  This year I’m trying really hard not to stress.  As of today, I can honestly tell you my children have yet to see Santa, we have no advent calendar, gift shopping has barely begun, baking (what baking?)… I have had to learn to let some things go in order to save my own sanity.

I joke about the stress because it’s so very easy during these hectic times to lose sight of what’s most important: quality family time together celebrating Jesus’ birth.  Ask your child what he remembers about last year’s Christmas and I bet it isn’t the gift but, rather, some sort of special activity you did together.

I challenge you to try to remember that over the next couple weeks that you have together.  Plan some quality activities that you can do together.  Here are a few selections:

*gumdrop and toothpick structures (you could also use marshmallows)

*look at holiday lights around town

*have a game night or puzzle party

*make a bed on the floor and snuggle for movie time

*wear pajamas all day long

*make a fort (several sheets clipped together with clothespins, add Christmas lights, make signs)

And if the weather is cold and you’re forced to stay indoors, try to remember that children need to run and play.  Their bodies need “heavy work” (activities where they can use and work their muscles).  Think about things that they can do inside.

*check out this fun balloon hunt

*create a homemade obstacle course

*bring the outside games inside with masking tape

*how cool would a pillow mountain be?

I wish you the very best Christmas holiday.  Enjoy the celebration, enjoy the festivities, and most of all, try to cherish each moment with your children!  See you in January!  (FYI: classes resume for us Thursday, January 3)

Shelly


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He’s so Very Small

I believe one of the most heartwarming things on this earth is the sound of children singing! 

Thank you to our Aldersgate families for taking time to participate in our Christmas Worship and activities.   There was almost no room in the inn worship center.  Thank you, too,  for your patience with the crowded spaces. 

Thank you to a few families that graciously allowed me to post their nativiy pictures on our blog.  (I wish I had asked everyone but I didn’t think of it.)  The nativity pictures are such a sweet way to capture your kids “in the Christmas story.”   IMG_1905IMG_1908I love the innocence of this sweet little guy looking for the baby.  Even though you don’t see all these boys faces, I love how intently they are looking.  Can you just imagine how amazed we would be standing at the manger of our Lord?

IMG_19242 Baby Jesus was well cared for here.  This sweet little one instantly picked him up to cuddle him!

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And, as picture times go, it was hard to get all children looking and smiling at the same time.  It’s not about doing things perfectly though.  It’s about the experience!  Hopefully these photos will bring fond memories for many years to come. 

Of course we did all this to honor our baby Jesus.  I love the words of one of the songs the children sang:

        He’s so very small.  He’s a baby
        He’s so very small.  He’s a king.
        He’s so very small yet he’s God’s own son.
        We welcome the baby the King!
 

I pray we are all readying our hearts to truly welcome the baby the King!

PS – we hope to soon have a recording of our Christmas songs on our website. 


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Christmas Came Early!

It is just like Christmas morning around here.  We got some really neat “gifts.”  Our handyman, Nate McGuire, has been busy.  I want to tell you about a couple of items Nate made for us.

launch boards

These are launch boards.  We have a few around here but they are beginning to split and break.  Children LOVE these so we are grateful that Nate made us some more!  Launch boards lay on the ground with the little wood piece on the bottom.  An item (such as a bean bag) is placed over the circle area.  Children stomp on the other end of the board which sends the item flying into the air.  The challenge is to try to catch the item that you have launched.  While the children know this is great FUN, we know they are working on eye-hand coordination and tracking skills that are vital to many learning activities including reading!  Your kids will have a chance to use this during the activity time following our Christmas Worship tomorrow morning.  We hope to see you there.

chalkboard

Nate also made us four great free-standing chalk boards.  We will use these in the writing centers with the kids or for parent information.  Again, children will have FUN as they draw and write.  We will know they are building strong fine motor skills.  Often chalk is small and/or broken.  That’s actually better for young children.  When using the small pieces the children are forced to use the pincer grasp and hold the chalk at the tips of their fingers.  This encourages a more correct grasp for writing.  So, don’t throw all those broken crayons and chalk away – they are still good!

We are so blessed to have Nate as our handyman.  His is a paid employee but he isn’t paid much compared to the benefit he provides us at preschool.  We love these new items and we also love when Nate comes right over to check on the leaking pipe under the Discovery Days sink or the toilet that won’t work.  (Insert smiley face here!)  As the chalk board says,  THANKS NATE!  We feel like Christmas came early at preschool!


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It’s like they were having a party!

While singing with the kids the other day,  a child realized that all the people and animals coming to see Jesus was “like they were having a party!”  What a wonderful way to visualize the birth of our savior.

It is hard to keep our focus, let alone our children’s, on the true story of Christmas.  Perhaps it would be easier if we saw Jesus’ birth as a party!  I love to talk with the children about Santa, presents, etc. as being a special part of Jesus’ birthday celebration.  Perhaps some games and other fun activities will help your children enjoy the true Christmas story.  Here are a few ideas:

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  • If you don’t already have a toy nativity, Fisher Price makes one that the children enjoy using here at preschool.  Amazon has a few options.  Here is a link to the one shown above.  http://www.amazon.com/Little-People-Christmas-Nativity-Playset/dp/B000IAD9XC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355178212&sr=8-1&keywords=fisher+price+nativity  Through play, as with so many things, children act out the story which helps make it more real for them.  It is a great chance to clarify things for them as you play along.
  • Finding Jesus is a fun game to play.  Whether a baby Jesus from a nativity set or just a photo you have printed from the internet, hide Jesus throughout the house and encourage the children to look for him.  You can give verbal clues that fit your child’s developmental level.  “He is on something that is made of wood.”  “He is in a drawer with things we put on our feet.”
  • Create an obstacle course to the stable.  You can talk about how the wise men had to travel a long way to find Jesus.  Crawling under an end table and over some couch cushions,  stepping on the napkin “stones”, etc. will provide a lot of fun play for the kids.  They will certainly squeal with delight as they find the baby in the manger.
  • Balloons and paper towel or gift wrap tubes will provide some fun play about shepherds.  The children can herd the balloons with their tubes all the way to where you have a nativity or photo of Jesus.

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  • Singing simple songs and  finger plays about the nativity story is another great activity.  Here are a couple:

   One Little Baby 

                                One little baby asleep on the hay.

                                 (rock baby, then lay head on hands like sleeping)

                                 Two loving parents keep watch while they pray.

                                  (hand over eyes a though looking, then fold hands for praying)

                                  Three wise men traveled on camels to find.

(show three fingers, hand over eyes to look)

                                   One Little Baby – Your Jesus and mine.

                                   (rock baby, point to others then yourself)

  Here We Go To Bethlehem  (tune: Mulberry Bush)

Here we go to Bethlehem, Bethlehem, Bethlehem

Here we go to Bethlehem, All through the day

Walking now to Bethlehem . . .

Riding now to Bethlehem . . .

Happy now in Bethlehem  . .  . It’s Jesus’ birthday!

I found a few websites with some other fun ideas.  I encourage you to take a look and incorporate some of these ideas into your play each day.

I wish you a blessed and spirit-filled Christmas season!

Cyndi Mawhiney


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Planting a Pumpkin?

“Ms. Cyndi, what are you doing?”  “Why are you planting a PUMPKIN?”

As you can see from the picture below, on the playground, we have a pumpkin in a pot.  This will be our year-long experiment.  We are asking the children, “What will happen if we leave this pumpkin here all year?”  If/then statements are a wonderful starting point in scientific thought.  If we leave this pumpkin here all year, then  . . .

We are already hearing quite a few hypotheses:  “It will get old and squishy.”   “It will grow.”   “It will die.”  It will get hairy.”   “It will get holes in it.”  “It will get rooting, um, no rotten.”  (This is great vocabulary practice as well!)   . . .

As I was working on setting it up, the children noticed some places on the pumpkin that are already deteriorating.  The outside shell is chipped away in places.  We talked about what could be causing that to happen.  The general consensus was birds pecking at it.  I noted that the edges looked a little like bite marks.  Hmmmm, I wonder about that.  One child offered the possibility of mice eating it.

I love this simple project.  I love the interactions and the questions.  I love the thought the children are already giving this.

What will happen?  We, the teachers, don’t know.  We aren’t sure if it will just rot or if the seeds will germinate in the pot.  We each have our own hypothesis.   I am hopeful that we will see regrowth next year but we just don’t know.   “What will happen if we leave this pumpkin here all year.”pumpkin sicience